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Saturday, July 4, 2015

2420 - WWE Network Special: The Beast In The East



The WWE Network special, The Beast In The East, where they air a live house show from Tokyo. And this aired in the morning, live, which was surprising, but hey, it's a nice surprise and one of those little things that makes the Network worthwhile. To tell the truth, they should probably do more of these. Just a random house show here and there.

But of course, there're two things on this show that makes this worth turning into a televised special; the NXT Championship match between champion Kevin Owens and challenger Finn Balor... and Brock Lesnar's first match since Wrestlemania... and - spoiler alert for those who haven't seen it - the main event of this WWE Live show from Japan that has these two major talking points... is a nothing tag-team match that features John Cena... because that screams main event.

So, for those who care, it's a house show. No big elaborate set or anything; they just got a small titantron for the videos. That's the extent of your production and that's fine. You don't need a big production for a non-televised event... even though this is a televised event. Commentary is provided by Michael Cole and Byron Saxton.

So added bonus; Chris Jericho, who occasionally does house shows, inadvertently gets shown on television. He faces off against Neville and Jericho wins, of course. The finish was pretty cool, though; Neville does his Red Arrow flying move that Y2J somehow turns into a Liontamer. Jericho didn't miss a beat and he looked pretty damn good. All in all, this was a good match. No complaints.

Divas Champion Nikki Bella defeated Tamina Snuka and Paige to retain the title. Um, okay. This was a thing that happened while I was in the John... Cena.

Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston in a short match... what, no 50 suplexes for 20 minutes? I'm shocked. Although don't you fret, kids. Ol' Brock dishes those out after the match. This was a thing that happened and it was short. So there you go. And yes, Michael Cole did indeed acknowledged Brock Lesnar being a former IWGP champion. Didn't think that would happen, but there you go.

Finn Balor defeated NXT Champion Kevin Owens to win the title and send ol' Kevin to the main roster. This being a Japanese crowd, they toss in the streamers and geishas presenting flowers. This was probably the best match on the card. Finn Balor's entrance is a feast to behold with all the make-up and lighting. Kevin Owens is such a prick and such a loud-mouthed asshole it's a beautiful thing to witness his taunting of the crowd. The match itself was paced in a way that seemed somewhat slow at times, but never felt plodding. It told the story it needed to tell and it told that story well. I was intrigued, I was engaged, it was enjoyable fare... that's all it takes for a match to be worthwhile and good.

One thing I'd like to mention is the noticeably stark improvement in the overall commentary from Michael Cole and Byron Saxton. Commentary in WWE has been such an unbearable clusterfuck that it takes away from what's on screen. Good commentary can enhance a match while bad commentary can destroy a match and I'm happy to say that all throughout the night - the Owens/Balor match especially - Cole and Saxton put on good commentary. They weren't trying to be funny, they weren't trying to sell the latest app or make sponsors happy or be outright stupid. They were providing backstory to these matches, they were providing background on the various talents - going so far as to not only acknowledge past New Japan title reigns in regards to Brock Lesnar and Finn Balor, but also bringing up Jericho's stint in FMV and Neville's Dragon Gate past.

It's as though they knew the crowd watching this show was more within the core audience rather than the wider casual crowd and they adjusted their verbiage and presentation accordingly. It goes to show that, when left to their own devices, Cole and Saxton can get the job done. As much as people like to shit on Michael Cole, the guy's capable of pulling off good play-by-play and that's what we got.

So, overall, that was a good show and... oh wait. I forgot. There's another match.

John Cena & Dolph Ziggler defeated Kane and Bad News Barrett when Cena hit Barrett with an AA... there were no streamers, there were no geishas, there was nothing... this was a thing that happened and why is this over twenty minutes? So they win and they celebrate and Cole is excited that he and Saxton trended on Twitter... oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

So, overall, if you forget the last 20-30 minutes existed and you ended it on the NXT match, this was a pretty good show overall. A great NXT title, the usual Brock beating, a solid Jericho showing... and the usual pissbreak match. For something that was a regular live event... this was a good little show. They should do more of these instead of stupid shit like the "WWE List" or that Swerved show. Those suck.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to get around to watching this, wasn't awake. Very good job by Cole and Byron respecting Japanese wrestling history with those references, if true. Vince must not have been monitoring this at all, lol.

    And then they end it with the meaningless RAW-end tag match, huh. That's a good way to suck the fun out of something unique. At least it wasn't a 6-man! Those haven't been good since Shield and Wyatts. Sendind the crowd home happy with the face tag win is a shit house show thing, I might skip that..

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